Servants Make The Best Economic Indicators
Nick Paumgarten's piece on the decline of high finance in the latest New Yorker -- trapped by the magazine's calamitous "digital reader" -- is nice, but I was struck by one passage in particular, about how a finance king realized the end was near:A private-equity executive I talked to said that he sensed the jig was up when his cleaning woman -- "from Nicaragua or El Salvador of wherever the fuck she's from" -- took out a subprime loan to buy a house in Virginia. She drove down with her husband every weekend from New York, six hours each way, to fix it up for resale. They cleared sixty-five thousand dollars on the deal, in a matter of months. To many, this would have been proof that America is a land of opportunity, but to him it signalled a fatal imbalance between obligation and means.
I was pretty sure I'd read this before. And when I went back and checked Michael Lewis's Portfolio piece from a couple of months ago, I found a similar anecdote